This guide is for a gimmick build I have created. As the title implies, it's a Summoner Warrior; a Warrior capable of generating, utilizing, and supporting summons much like a Minion Master. Of course, this is an odd concept as most of us know that Warriors do not have any skills that summon (excluding banners; I personally do not consider those "summons"). Regardless of the opinion, this build is extremely enjoyable and it's funny to observe reactions from other players when they see a Warrior using summons.
Before we continue, a few disclaimers:
* This build is not viable in PvP. Your summons will be torn to shreds if you try to PvP with this build. For now, the contents of this guide are specific to PvE.
* This build has trouble keeping up in dungeons. Many of the obstacles in dungeons make it difficult for Summoner Warriors to manage their summons.
* This build is about having fun and being unique!
Since Warriors do not have access to any skills that summon, you will have to gain your summons from other sources, namely consumable items, runes, and racial skills. Depending on the circumstance, you will be maintaining between two to five summons at once. Two of the summons are acquired by using certain consumable items:
The Ember is essentially a spin-off of the Elementalist's fire elemental, the only difference being that the Ember can generate Fire Fields (explained later). Like any normal Ember, it will generate three Lava Fonts, which dish out a great deal of damage. The Ogre Pet is actually one of six summons: Black Bear, Whiptail Devourer, Hawkeye Griffon, Hyena, Melandru's Stalker, or Crimson Moa. One of the six is chosen at random; you don't have a choice in selection. Regardless of which one you're given, the Ogre Pet definitely stacks in your group's overall damage per second (DPS). Another of the summons is acquired by proc'ing of a rune:
* Rock Dog (Superior Rune of the Ogre)
The Rock Dog is a fantastic member of your group as it attacks rather quickly and also inflicts bleeding (the bleeding doesn't do much damage, but it's still extra damage). The Rock Dog is spawned by chance (5% chance after being hit). While this does seem like a low probability (1 in every 20 hits), remember that you're a Warrior - you will be in the frontline anyway and you will continually be hit. Do not worry about the Rock Dog's chances of proc'ing; it actually happens more frequently than you'd think.
The last one or two summons of your group is dependent on your character's race (I call them "secondary" because they are not always in your group). Most of the playable races have elite racial skills that summon. As such, view the elite racial skills to justify which race you want to use. The choice of race is up to you, but I've ranked the playable races in descending order of benefit to the build:
The Sylvari have the choice of two summons (Druid Spirit and Sylvan Hound). The Druid Spirit grants regeneration to and draws conditions from allies, in addition to occasionally casting immobilize. The Druid Spirit is fantastic when up against more difficult enemies. The only issue with the Druid Spirit is that it's rather slow. On the other hand, the Sylvan Hound is more agile and damage-oriented. The Sylvan Hound is immune to conditions, is rather durable, and inflicts poison and bleeding. On the contrary, the Sylvan Hound doesn't offer benefits to you or your summons. I tend to switch between these two skills depending on the situation. Nevertheless, both skills have a relatively short cooldown in comparison to their functions. Furthermore, although not an elite skill, the Sylvari have access to the racial skill 'Healing Seed,' which, amongst other Summoner Warriors of different races, is to only healing skill that benefits your summons.
The Asura also have also have the choice of two summons (D-Series Golem and 7-Series Golem). The D-Series Golem, much like the Druid Spirit, is centered on defense. From time to time, the D-Series Golem will cast Shield Bubble, which will protect you and your summons from projectiles for a few seconds; the bubble also counts as a light field. The D-Series Golem is not very fast, but where it shines is in its protective capabilities. The 7-Series Golem, much like the Sylvan Hound, is the exact opposite of its counterpart. Although this golem does a considerable amount of damage, it doesn't benefit you and your summons in any way. It'll simply be another member of the group. The Asura would have tied with the Sylvari for the number one spot, but both Golems have shorter durations. The Asura do not have access to a racial healing skill.
The Charr have access to one (two?) summons (Warband Support). This elite skill summons two members of your warband to fight alongside you. The ranged Charr applies vulnerability and cripple, and can also interrupt enemies. The melee Charr also applies cripple, in addition to granting might to your party. Downsides: They only last 30 seconds and the skill has a 240-second cooldown. The Charr would've ranked higher on the list if the skill's duration and cooldown weren't so extreme.
The Human, like the Charr, have access to one (two?) summons (Hounds of Balthazar). This elite skill summons two hounds that deal a great deal of damage. Furthermore, both hounds have a skill that counts as a leap finisher. Downsides: The hounds do not benefit your summons, the hounds only last 30 seconds, and the skill has a 240-second cooldown. The Human do have a racial healing skill (Prayer to Dwayna), but it's not party-friendly and it's overshadowed by other Warrior healing skills.
The Norn do not have access to any elite skills that summon. They do have "Call Wurm," which summons a wurm to fight, but it takes up one of your utility slots, which you need for other skills. The Norn do not have any racial healing skills.
Now I'm not saying that you must play Sylvari in order for this build to work; I'm also not saying that Norn Warriors are inadequate. I'm simply claiming that the race of your character will dictate your flexibility as a Summoner Warrior. Again, the choice yours; use this ranked list as a comparison to your style of play.
I understand that there are many other sources for summons. I will explain why they're irrelevant to the build:
* Superior Rune of the Golemancer: "5% chance to summon a golem on hit" - The Golem does decent damage, but it only has one attack that pushes back enemies. This is undesirable as you want enemies to stay put in order to effectively use your Ember's three Lava Fonts.
* Superior Rune of the Flock: "10% chance to summon a bird on hit" - This isn't a summon. It's an animation of a swooping bird.
* Superior Rune of the Mad King: "Summons ravens when using an elite skill" - This isn't a summon either. It's just an animation similar to the Ranger's skill "Hunter's Call."
* Superior Rune of the Lich: "5% chance to summon a minion on hit" - Summons a Jagged Horror that isn't very strong and it's rather fragile as it loses health over time.
* Superior Sigil of Demon Summoning: "Summons a fleshreaver after killing 26 enemies" - Gathering 26 kills in open world isn't hard, but it could take a while; the fleshreaver only lasts one minute. Furthermore, once the fleshreaver is summoned, you can no longer gain charges for this summon until you're downed/defeated or move to a different zone. Overall, it's not worth using one of your sigil spots.
Your traits are as follows: 0/0/30/30/10. For the most part, your purpose in the group is to be the main source of support and healing. This is accomplished by the use of the Warhorn and Shouts to remove conditions and heal, respectively. You also utilize the Mace for its great defensive and crowd control abilities. Here is reasoning for the trait layout:
Defense (30): When maxed, Defense provides 300 Toughness and 300 Healing Power, both of which are essential for obvious reasons. In regards to the major traits:
* Cull the Weak: Increases damage to foes with weakness, simple.
* Sundering Mace: Reduces the cooldown on your Mace skills, allowing you to block and stun more frequently. Also furthers damage to foes with weakness.
* Last Stand: Negates daze, knockdown, launch, push, and stun and grants you stability. This trait only serves the purpose of ensuring you're uninterrupted, which allows you to continually provide support and healing to your summons without worrying about being disabled.
In regards to the minor traits:
* Thick Skin: Gives additional armor when health is above 90%. Self-explanatory.
* Adrenal Health: Regenerates health based on adrenaline level. Good because it takes a while for the Mace's Burst skill to recharge (since Maces are slow). As you gradually gain adrenaline, you will also be given small heals.
* Armored Attack: Gives you additional Power based on your Toughness. You have a ton of Toughness, so this is just a great passive minor trait to have overall.
Tactics (30): When maxed, Tactics grants 300 Vitality, which will substantially increase your health pool. Tactics will also give you +30% Boon Duration, meaning the boons you generate will last much longer. In regards to the major traits:
* Lung Capacity: Reduces the cooldown on your Shouts.
* Quick Breathing: Reduces the cooldown on your Warhorn skills. Also removes one condition for you and your summons upon use. This is the only source of condition removal for your group.
* Vigorous Shouts: Your Shouts heal; pretty self explanatory. Since you will have a ton of Healing Power, each Shout used will heal your group for approximately 2,000 health, which, for most of your summons, is about a third of their full health.
In regards to the minor traits, all of them have to do with reviving allies. If you're running solo, this will be inapplicable to the build as the summons cannot be revived (once they die, they die). The minor traits of Tactics are only reliable if you're with another player.
Discipline (10): Placing 10 points in Discipline will give you +10% Critical Damage, which is irrelevant this build (you won't be delivering criticals often). It also gives you +10$ Burst Recharge, which is nice since the Burst skill of the Mace provides an additional stun. In regards to the major trait:
* Inspiring Shouts: Grants adrenaline when using a Shout. Speeds up your adrenaline production in order to use your Burst skill more frequently.
In regards to the minor trait:
* Versatile Rage: Gain adrenaline on weapon swap. This is fantastic as weapon swapping is an essential function to this build (explained later). More adrenaline surely does not hurt.
As aforementioned, you will be using a Mace in your mainhand due to its defensive and crowd control capabilities. The first skill/auto-attack gives weakness, the second skill blocks, and the third skill dazes. You will be using a Warhorn in your offhand due to its supportive and condition-removing qualities. The fourth skill grants swiftness to your group, while also curing chilled, crippled, and immobilize (when combined with the trait "Quick Breathing," it'll remove two conditions), while the fifth skill gives you vigor, gives your target weakness, and provides a blast finisher. View the following links for your reference:
Your healing skill is dependent on your race. If you're a Sylvari, I highly suggest you use Healing Seed, as mentioned earlier. Healing Seed heals you for a decent amount while granting regeneration to your group every two seconds. The regeneration granted by this skill is also affected by your Healing Power, so the healing will be considerable. If you're not a Sylvari, then go with the Warrior skill "Healing Surge." The higher your adrenaline, the greater heal you'll receive. It also restores your entire adrenaline bar.
Your utility skills are self-explanatory as well. You will be carrying three Shouts:
* "For Great Justice!": Grants might for 25 seconds and fury for 8 seconds to your group. With -20% cooldown and +30% Boon Duration, the boons you're given will last quite a while. In addition, activating this Shout will give heal and additional adrenaline.
* "On My Mark!": Gives 10 stacks of vulnerability for 10 seconds to your target. This will increase damage done by you and your individual summons by 10%. In addition, activating this Shout will give heal and additional adrenaline.
* "Shake It Off!": Removes one condition from all members of the group. This shout also breaks stun, which is handy if "Last Stand" is on cooldown. In addition, activating this Shout will give heal and additional adrenaline.
Again, this is highly dependent on your character's race. Use the ranked list above to determine which elite skill you want to use. If you don't feel like using another summon, then change your elite skill to another - by all means. This option is at your discretion.
Before discussing your equipment, let's go over which stats are most important for the Summoner Warrior. Your main stat is Healing Power, for obvious reasons - you need a great deal of Healing Power (approximately 900) in order to maintain the health of your summons. Another important stat is Toughness; since you're a Warrior and will be in the frontlines, you also need to keep yourself alive. Power and Boon Duration are good additions, but are secondary to Healing Power and Toughness. Precision, Critical Damage, Condition Damage, and Condition Duration are irrelevant to this build, so do not worry about those.
Armor with the prefix "Cleric's" is perfect for this build. It provides major bonuses to Healing Power and minor bonuses to Toughness and Power. Luckily, "Cleric's" armor can indeed be crafted, so it shouldn't be an issue when trying to obtain.
In regards to runes, four of the six armor pieces should have "Superior Rune of the Ogre." For the other two armor pieces, put "Superior Rune of the Water." This is so because the fifth and sixth bonuses of "Superior Rune of the Ogre" are not as useful as the second bonus of Superior Rune of the Water," which grants +15% Boon Duration.
Once again, in your mainhand, equip a Mace. In your offhand, equip a Warhorn. In your weapon swap mainhand, equip a Mace that is identical to the first Mace; leave the weapon swap offhand empty (it's unnecessary). Like your armor, all of your weapons should have the "Cleric's" prefix.
In regards to sigils, make sure your Warhorn has "Superior Sigil of Hydromancy." This sigil creates an AoE chill effect around your character when swapping in combat. This is extremely helpful, especially for the Ember's Lava Fonts and for the Mace's inherent slowness. For your mainhands' sigils, it's really up to you. I use "Superior Sigil of Life," which gives +250 Healing Power after killing 25 foes. I do, however, suggest, you stay away from sigils that trigger on critical hits (since you will rarely do a critical) or another sigil that triggers on weapon swap (due to shared cooldowns of sigils).
ACCESSORIES, RINGS, and AMULET
Once more, these items should have the "Cleric's" prefix. These can be obtained through crafting, or you can buy nice ones from the Laurel Merchant. The following is a list of ascended accessories, rings, and amulets that have the "Cleric's" prefix.
* Amulet - Offensive: Salma's Diamond Jubilee Necklace
* Amulet - Defensive: Amulet of Protection
* Amulet - Utility: Prayer to Otter
* Ring - Offensive: Healing Signet
* Ring - Defensive: Druid's Circle
* Accessory - Offensive: Kurzick Bauble
* Accessory - Defensive: Preserved Red Iris Flower
The first thing you must do is summon your Ember and Ogre Pet. This is VERY important: Consume the "Fire Elemental Powder" BEFORE you consume the "Ogre Pet Whistle"! For some odd reason, if you consume the Ogre Pet Whistle first, the game will essentially "lock" both the Fire Elemental Powder and Ogre Pet Whistle for five minutes (you can still consume them, but nothing will happen). If you use the Ogre Pet Whistle first, then you will only have one summon and both consumables will be unusable for a while. So again: Consume the "Fire Elemental Powder" BEFORE you consume the "Ogre Pet Whistle"!
Once you have both your Ember and Ogre Pet up, you can start wandering around. Use your Warhorn's fourth skill to give your group swiftness, allowing you to move around the world faster. Note that with +45% Boon Duration (+30% from Tactics and +15% from Superior Rune of Water) and -20% cooldown from "Quick Breathing," your group will essentially have infinite swiftness.
At the start of combat, activate "On My Mark!" to give vulnerability. Wait for your Ember to cast its Lava Fonts. Once cast, enter one of the Lava Fonts and use your Warhorn's fifth skill. This will complete the Fire Field with a blast combo finisher, thereby giving your group more might. Keep an eye on your weapon swap's cooldown - when it's done recharging, activate the weapon swap to trigger the AoE chill and gain more adrenaline. Constantly observe your health and if you have any conditions. Chances are, if your health is low, so are your summons' health; if you have a condition, so do your summons. If that's the case, activate "For Great Justice!" and/or "Shake It Off!" accordingly. Also remember that both of your Warhorn skills remove conditions from all members of your group. Spam your Mace skills and your Burst skill to provide additional crowd control. Activate your elite skill whenever you see fit. I tend to activate them right before engaging in combat. Remember that your elite skill will have a long cooldown, so be weary when jumping from foe to foe in the open world.
Lastly, keep in mind that your Ember, Ogre Pet, and Rock Dog do not have that great of AI. From time to time, they will begin attacking things (foes, obstacles, anything with hit points) at random. Remember that your job is to maintain your summons, so you may have to chase after your summons if they start wandering off.
* Set your weapon swap, Burst skill, and Shouts to key bindings that are easily accessible by your fingers. You will be using these features very frequently. I personally have my weapon swap as "R," my Burst skill as "C," and my Shouts as various buttons on my mouse.
* Play around with your in-game control options, namely ones that cycle through names during combat. I changed "Tab" to targeting nearest allies, allowing me to keep an eye out for my summons' health and conditions.
* Always keep a rifle or longbow in your inventory. There will be times where running the Summoner Warrior build will be fruitless and you will need some range (i.e. boss battles, such as the Shadow Behemoth). You will still be capable of providing party-wide heals, boons, and condition removal.
The Summoner Warrior, as mentioned before, is meant to be unique. Although not viable in PvP and dungeons, it's definitely a different approach to the Warrior profession. If you want something different than the cookie-cutter builds Warriors are infamous for, or if you're just looking for a new and enjoyable way to play the profession, the Summoner Warrior will indeed tickle your fancy. Hope you found this guide insightful and remember to have fun (games aren't always about competition, heh)!
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